New age of the train could herald a ‘super Topsham’

13:33 22 January 2014

The entrance to the Exmouth bus and train stations. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0297-03-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

The entrance to the Exmouth bus and train stations. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 0297-03-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

Archant

A new world class transport interchange in Exmouth could see the town transform into ‘super Topsham’ and living standards skyrocket, an academic has told an influential think tank.

Now district and county regeneration chiefs say a transport hub could be the next major regeneration project in the town.

European Commission transport adviser Dr Chris Irwin told the Exmouth Transport Partnership how a one-stop transport shop, with four trains an hour, a new bus station with ‘Boris Bikes’ and mobility scooters for hire would transform the town’s fortunes.

He said: “You have fantastic people, environment and housing with development opportunities and a corridor most conurbations would give their back teeth for.

“Imagine a world where Exeter’s dreams as a great high-tech hub are realised.

“Where are people going to live? The most successful might want to live here, at a ‘super-Topsham’.”

A transport hub, he said, would revive the economy and boost access to housing.

He added: “There is quite a lot of poverty [in Exmouth] and there is quite a large low-wage economy. There is a greater dependence on Exeter than I had expected.

“This town could do with regeneration and it probably needs to acknowledge that.

“I think Exmouth should be more open about regeneration issues.”

Responding to Dr Irwin’s comments, the chairman of East Devon District Council’s regeneration programme board, Councillor Andrew Moulding, said: “The economic benefits are what the masterplan is all about.

“A number of projects are either partially complete or in train. We are not going to stop at those three or four original projects – we want to go beyond that.

“We welcome Dr Irwin’s positive comments about the masterplan and our vision for Exmouth. He was very clear about the importance of transport connectivity as a catalyst to regeneration, and this is why our aim is to achieve a first class transport interchange for Exmouth.”

Devon County Council’s transport planning officer Matt Barnes added: “Exmouth station and an interchange are very high on our agenda.

“All the money is in pots we have to bid for, and we are very good at bidding for money.”

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